EARTHTALK: Where Do Vice President Candidates Pence & Kaine Stand on Environment?

Repost from Earthtalk

Where Do Vice President Candidates Pence & Kaine Stand on Environment?

By John McReynolds, 08/13/2016

Dear EarthTalkWhere do the Vice President choices for the upcoming Presidential election (Tim Kaine and Mike Pence) stand in terms of environmental track record and commitment?

Mitchell Finan, Butte, MT

Not surprisingly given the current political climate, the respective Vice Presidential candidates differ on most of the issues, including their policies on the environment and energy.

kaine pence sml 400x267 Where Do Vice President Candidates Pence & Kaine Stand on Environment?
The two Vice Presidential candidates (Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence) could hardly be father apart on their respective stances on conservation, environment, energy and what to do about climate change. Credit: Joel Rivlin, Gage Skidmore

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s VP choice Tim Kaine has opposed big oil companies since his career as Virginia State Senator. He first endorsed a “25% renewables by 2025” goal back in 2007, and has continued his staunch support ever since. He has been a champion of diversifying America’s energy portfolio. “We’re not going to drill our way out of the long-term energy crisis facing this nation and the world… we can’t keep relying oil,” said Kaine back in 2008. He reinforced this position again in his 2012 Senate race by arguing against tax subsidies for major oil companies.

As far as environmental protection, he has not shown much of a track record in support or against. In May of 2013, he did vote affirmatively on a bill to protect ocean, coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV), which puts out an annual national environmental scorecard for politicians, has attributed a 91 percent lifetime score to Kaine, clearly naming him as one of our nation’s leading politicians. More recently, in late 2015, Kaine voted against a bill that attacked Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carbon pollution limits. Of course, a Republican dominated Congress passed the bill anyway, although President Obama quickly vetoed it to maintain stricter limits on carbon pollution.

Across the aisle, Donald Trump’s VP selection, Mike Pence, lacks any sort of environmental agenda in his political career. The LCV gives him a lifetime score of only four percent, meaning he is no friend of the environment. Pence, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001-2013 when he assumed the Indiana governorship, voted against a “Cash for Clunkers” recycling program in 2009 and also voted no on a bill improving public transportation in 2008. Meanwhile, he voted affirmatively for deauthorizing critical habitat zones and approving forest thinning projects in 2005 and 2003, respectively.

As for energy policy, Pence supported the “25% renewable energy…” goal in 2007 like his opponent Kaine. However, since then, he has supported offshore drilling, opposed EPA regulation of greenhouse gases and voted without any environmental conscience. He also voted against incentives for alternative fuels, for the construction of new oil refineries, and against criminalizing oil cartels such as OPEC.

“I think the science is very mixed on the subject of global warming,” Pence stated in 2009. His record of the environment since then reflects his continued skepticism toward environmental protection efforts.

For environmentalists, Kaine is the obvious choice over Pence, which is no surprise given the Presidential candidates who selected each of them as running mates. While Hillary Clinton may have focused more attention on other political issues over her career, she has continuously supported environmental protection and the transition away from fossil fuels, while Donald Trump has fought environmental restrictions on his ability to operate his real estate empire and recently told reporters he would consider reneging on U.S. commitments to reduce greenhouse gases made at the recent Paris climate summit.

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    LATEST DERAILMENT: 26 coal cars derail, 5 end up in creek north of Fort Worth TX

    Repost from Fox4, Fort Worth TX
    [Editor: See also CBSDFW.com for more video and images.  – RS]

    Train derailment causes major delays north of Fort Worth

    By: Josiah Sage, Aug 21 2016 07:50PM CDT, updated Aug 22 2016 08:59AM CDT

    Crewmembers believe a bridge failure caused more than 26 rail cars on a Union Pacific freight train to derail north of Fort Worth Sunday night.

    It happened around 6 p.m. as the train was traveling over a bridge near Highway 377 in Roanoke. No one was hurt, but five of the train cars ended up in Denton Creek.

    Union Pacific said the train was carrying coal, so nothing hazardous spilled into the creek. But it will still take some time to clean up the mess.

    “There’s a lot of work that’s been done, a lot of work that’s been done since overnight. When I went on scene just moments ago you could see the big construction equipment tearing apart the rail cars. I guess instead of lifting and removing them they just crushed them and they are in pieces,” said Det. Sandy Pettigrew with the Roanoke Police Department.

    The derailment is still causing some traffic problems on Hwy. 377 between FM 1171 and Bobcat Boulevard. The highway is expected to be closed most of the day and that will likely affect traffic heading to the nearby Byron Nelson High School.

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      LATEST DERAILMENT: Diesel fuel leak in heart of Toronto, no injuries

      Repost from the Toronto Star

      Freight train derailment a ‘wake-up call’ on rail safety, councillor says

      Human error blamed for freight train derailment in heart of the city after a Canadian Pacific Railway train collided with another on Sunday morning.
      By Ebyan Abdigir, Aug. 21, 2016
      A CP Railway freight train derailed near Bathurst and Dupont Sts., early Sunday after two trains collided, causing a diesel fuel spill. CP blames human error for the collision.
      A CP Railway freight train derailed near Bathurst and Dupont Sts., early Sunday after two trains collided, causing a diesel fuel spill. CP blames human error for the collision. (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE / TORONTO STAR)

      Human error is being blamed for a freight train derailment in the heart of Toronto Sunday morning that had crews scrambling to contain a diesel fuel leak.

      The derailment happened after a train struck the tail of another train at about 5:20 a.m. near Dupont and Bathurst Sts., Canadian Pacific Railway spokesperson Martin Cej told the Star.

      No one was injured in the collision and subsequent derailment and the diesel fuel leak, which Toronto police said had not been a threat to public safety, was quickly contained.

      Cej said that one car was carrying batteries and aerosols, which are classified as “dangerous goods” under Canadian regulation, but they did not leak, he confirmed.

      City councillor Josh Matlow raised new concerns Sunday about freight trains running through densely populated neighbourhoods.

      A CN train derailed near Bridgeman and Howland Aves., East of Bathurst and Dupont Sts.
      A CN train derailed near Bridgeman and Howland Aves., East of Bathurst and Dupont Sts.  (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE) 

      “While it was incredibly fortunate no one was hurt today, this derailment should act as a wake-up call for the federal government to move swiftly on rail safety,” he said.

      This spring, Mayor John Tory, Matlow and 16 other councillors whose wards are nestled by rail lines, signed a letter sent to Marc Garneau, the federal Transport Minister, calling for better rail safety.

      The 2016 federal budget allocated $143 million to be used over three years to improve rail safety.

      Cej said “early indications” point to human error as the cause of Sunday’s collision and derailment and that equipment failure was not a factor.

      Bartlett Ave., north of Dupont, was closed while police and rail officials investigated the incident.

      A crowd gathers near where a CP Railway train derailed near Bathurst and Dupont Sts. on Sunday morning.
      A crowd gathers near where a CP Railway train derailed near Bathurst and Dupont Sts. on Sunday morning.   (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE)

      Although there were no dangerous goods on board either train Sunday, roughly 9 per cent of goods transported by CP in Ontario are regulated dangerous goods, according to a disclosure to Transport Canada for 2015.

      A 2014 investigation by Star reporter Jessica McDiarmid monitored CP’s rail line that crosses Barlett Ave. on its way to Dupont St. in the Junction before it goes northward, west of the Don Valley.

      Between two 12-hour shifts, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., the Star found that more than 130 cars and tanks carried dangerous goods such as crude oil, methyl bromide and ethyl trichlorosilane, and more.

      A little over three years ago, a train hauling 72 cars of crude oil, derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Que. It resulted in an inferno that killed 47 people, and spilled six million litres of crude.

      Since the 2013 Lac-Mégantic disaster, rail companies are required to provide information to municipalities for emergency planning, however, under strict confidentiality agreements. Canada’s largest railroads already did this upon request.

      In February 2015, the federal government introduced a bill that increased the amount of insurance railways must carry to cover costs in the event of a derailment.

      A worker grabs hold of the railing of a derailed CN engine near Bridgeman and Howland Aves. on August 21.
      A worker grabs hold of the railing of a derailed CN engine near Bridgeman and Howland Aves. on August 21.  (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE) 

      With files from Fakiha Baig and Star Staff

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        On the Climate Crisis, It’s Donald Trump vs. the World

        Repost from Inside Sources

        On the Climate Crisis, It’s Donald Trump vs. the World

        On the Climate Crisis, It’s Donald Trump vs. the World
        Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves a rally at The Palladium in Carmel, Ind., Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

        Donald Trump is many things, but we now know that in at least one area he would be a totally unique world leader if elected president: He would be the only leader of any nation to reject the science and dangers of climate change.

        The Associated Press recently reported on a new study from the Sierra Club that reveals that every current world leader recognizes both the science of climate change and the dangers it poses to humanity.

        Some have assumed that leaders of other nations around the world, including those countries most dependent on fossil fuels or with despotic leaders, hold similar views regarding climate denial and opposition to all climate action. But this study demonstrates that, from our closest allies like Canada, Japan and Germany, to the largest carbon emitters like India, China and Brazil, to the most fossil-fuel dependent states like Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, to countries as varied as Zimbabwe, North Korea and Fiji, the leaders of all nations accept the scientific consensus that man is fueling climate change by burning fossil fuels and are calling for urgent action.

        America’s closest partners, like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have said that “climate change will test our intelligence, our compassion and our will. But we are equal to that challenge.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who attended the Paris climate conference, said there: “This is a pivotal issue of our time. … We are one planet, and climate knows no bounds.”

        Trump, in stark contrast, has made his views clear over the last few years. In his opinion, “the scientists are having a lot of fun.” Over the years, he’s described climate change as a “hoax,” “mythical,” “nonexistent” a “con job,” and “bulls- – -.”
        He even said that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

        In actual fact, NASA has made clear that “97 percent of climate scientists agree” on the fact that man is driving climate change by burning fossil fuels.

        The Republican Party’s national leadership has long been a notable outlier in the global discussion and national debate on the climate crisis, climate science and the need for action. But it’s only now that we understand just how dangerously far out of step they and their new leader Donald Trump are on this critical issue.

        Trump’s absurd position on climate change makes clear that his policies will not just harm the U.S. economy and businesses, but rejecting climate action would undermine America’s global leadership and influence around the world. The world is united as one behind climate action, and Trump’s promise to “cancel” the universal agreement reached in Paris while eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency would completely undermine our standing in the world community and our influence within key alliances.

        While Trump claims he will negotiate “fantastic deals” with the rest of the world (think Atlantic City), the reality is that he is poised to undermine decades of progress this country and the world have made on climate action, environmental protection, and ensuring cleaner air to breathe and water to drink. The truth is that Donald Trump is toxic to our environment, noxious to our standing on the world stage.

        In contrast, Hillary Clinton believes that “every child and every family in America deserves clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a safe and healthy place to live.” She has and will be a leader on the international climate stage who will build upon our alliances and the progress made in Paris.

        What is absolutely clear now is that anyone who cares about the future of humanity’s only home in the universe cannot afford to sit on the sidelines in 2016. We don’t have time to waste four years on the future of this planet. It’s not just all the progress we’ve made on climate action that’s on the line, it’s the health and safety of our families today and future generations to come.

        That’s just one of the reasons you can be sure that the Sierra Club will be doing everything we can to elect Hillary Clinton the next president of the United States.

         

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